Articles from the Thoroton Society Newsletter

Early members of the Thoroton Society: The Rev Richard Jowett Burton

By John Wilson

Rev Richard Jowett Burton (1870-1937) was present at the Inaugural Meeting of the Thoroton Society and was a member from 1897 to 1936, a total of thirty-nine years. Like many clergy of the time, he was interested in history and archaeology. There were eighty-four clergy in membership of the Thoroton Society at various times during the first twenty-five years, out of a total membership of 670 (12.5%). By contrast, at the present time there are just two clergy members. Rev Burton published one paper in the Transactions of 1924 and there is a record of papers in the Derbyshire Archaeological Journal and the Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society (see below).

Richard Jowett Burton was born in 1870, at Heanor in Derbyshire, to George Burton and his wife Hannah Eliza Haslam. George was a farmer and maltster. He and Hannah had five children - William Roby b. 1864; George Whysall b. 1865; John Haslam b. 1867; Hannah Haslam b. 1868 and Richard Jowett b. 1870. Sadly, their father George died in 1871, leaving Hannah to bring up her family and run the family business.

The 1871 census at Heanor lists:

Hannah E Burton, age 39, widow, head of household, maltster and farmer.
Hannah H Burton, daughter, aged 2
Richard J Burton, son, aged 1
and two servant girls ages 11 and 16.

By the 1881 census, still at the Market Place, Heanor, Hannah had four of her five children at home with her. She is shown on the census return as retired at the age of 49, so the business must have been prosperous. Her family was now recorded as:

William Roby Burton, son aged 16, a banker’s clerk
George Whysall Burton, son aged 15 who had just left school
Hannah Burton, daughter aged 12
Richard Jowett Burton, son, aged 11.

Also resident in the house were John Patton, aged 32, a lodger, who was curate at St Luke’s Church in Heanor, and a servant girl aged 17.

It is interesting that some of the children were not at home at the two censuses. Possibly they were away at schools. However, there is no evidence for this.

By 1891, Richard was a student of theology at Hatfield Hall (now Hatfield College), University of Durham. At the 1891 census he was recorded as visiting Joseph and Sarah Richardson at Chorlton on Medlock, Lancashire. He was ordained in 1896 and in 1897 was licenced to the curacy of Darley Dale by the Bishop of Southwell.

Rev Burton took an active part in the Thoroton Society - perhaps too active at times. TM Blagg wrote of an incident on an excursion in the Society's early years:

"On one of these expeditions a hind wheel of one vehicle collapsed and the Rev R Jowett Burton of Darley Abbey and Miss Browne, daughter of Mr Hugh Browne of Aspley, who were on the back seat, were shot onto the road in a heap. Their flirtation had already attracted some interest, and as they were married shortly afterwards everyone said it was the mix-up on the roadway that clinched their courtship" [1] However, I have found no evidence for the ‘marriage to Miss Browne’ (see below).

Two of Richard’s brothers, George Whysall Burton and John Haslam Burton, had emigrated at some point to Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. George died in 1896 at Salisbury, Rhodesia and John in 1899 at Bulawayo, Rhodesia. Their mother Hannah died in 1901 at Heanor. At the time of the 1901 census, Richard was living alone, as a clergyman, at Sandiacre Lodge, Sandiacre St Giles, at Dale Abbey. At that time, Sandiacre Lodge was in Dale Abbey Civil Parish but part of Sandiacre St Giles Ecclesiastical Parish. His role would have been as curate of Stanton by Dale with Dale Abbey. He later held a curacy at Worksop.

The Sheffield Daily Telegraph of Tuesday 20th December 1904 reported that “The 'Morning Post' says a marriage has been arranged and will take place in early February between Rev Richard Jowett Burton of Worksop and Dorothy Mary, youngest daughter of the late Mr George Crompton of Stanton Hall, Nottingham and Mrs George Crompton of 5 Clarence Terrace, Regent's Park”. In January 1905, Richard married Dorothy Mary Crompton (1877-1960) at Marylebone, London. Richard’s address was given on the marriage certificate as 39 Polkes Street, Worksop. However, this address appears no longer to exist according to StreetMap on the internet. Possibly the area has been redeveloped.

Under ‘Ecclesiastical Preferments’, the Ross Gazette 13 June 1907 stated that “The Bishop of Hereford has instituted the Rev Richard Jowett Burton MA to the Rectory of Hughley, Salop, on the presentation of the Earl of Bradford”. Later that year, the Hereford Journal of Saturday 19 October 1907 informed readers that the Bishop of Hereford had licensed Rev Richard Jowett Burton MA to the perpetual curacy of Church Preen, on the nomination of the trustees of the late Mr Arthur Sparrow. Richard therefore held two church appointments.

Richard and Dorothy’s first child, Edward Jowett Burton, was born at Hughley Rectory, Cressage, Shrewsbury, Shropshire in 1907. By 1911 there were two more children, and the 1911 census shows the family at Hughley Rectory, where Richard was rector of Christ Church at Cressage. The household consisted of

Richard Jowett Burton, aged 41, clergyman
Dorothy Mary Burton, aged 33, wife
Edward Jowett Burton, son, aged 4
Catherine Mary Burton, daughter, aged 3
John Philip Burton, son, aged 7 months

Eliza Burton, aged 37, visitor who was married. (It is possible that Eliza was the widow of one of Richard’s two brothers, who had both died in Rhodesia, but I have no evidence for this).

There were also a cook, housemaid and nurse present at the census, so the family lived in some style.

An obituary in the Cheltenham Chronicle for Saturday 8 January 1938 states that from 1912 to 1916 Rev Burton was rector of Eaton Constantine, Shropshire. He resigned the living and in 1920 took up residence at Hyde Brae, Chalford, Gloucestershire. Hyde Brae is a substantial house on a hill, so the Burtons must have had means. For many years he interested himself in archaeology and for a period he acted as the Stroud honorary secretary for the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society. He was a member of the Council of that body and also a Freemason and a founder-brother of Durham University Lodge. He died in 1937 and was buried at Chalford Church. His will, left to his widow, amounted to £1,637.

Papers by Rev Richard Jowett Burton:

A Nottingham Riot in 1678, Transactions of the Thoroton Society, 1924, vol 28, pp56-66

Hundred of Appletree and Wapentake of Wirksworth: 'Ayd to his majestie King Charles 1, 1627' Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, 1899, vol 21, pp69-83

Archaeology of Longtree Hundred, Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 1928, vol 50, pp313-318

Notes: 1. Blagg T M, The Thoroton Society: some memories of its first thirty years, Transactions of the Thoroton Society 1946 volume 50 pp 13-24
Newspaper references courtesy of
Other biographical details via